North Carolina authorities may have solved a cold case murder after a man allegedly confessed to killing his son-in-law on the 24th anniversary of the crime.
According to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, 74-year-old Allen Deaver contacted police on Feb. 7, 2017 – precisely 24 years to the day that 34-year-old Sydney Gregory was killed – and admitted to killing him.
Deaver, of Livingston Parish, Louisiana, told police he killed his son-in-law “by beating him and then setting his mobile home on fire with him in it,” the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said in a Wednesday press release.
A Wayne County Grand Jury indicted Deaver on Wednesday, charging him with first-degree murder. He is being held behind bars in Louisiana, pending extradition, authorities said.
Speaking with Raleigh’s WNCN-TV, Wayne County Sheriff’s Major Tom Effler said Deaver’s confession might have been prompted by a recent hospital stay.
“I don’t know if he wanted to try to make things right before he met his maker, or what it was, but I think his conscience was bothering him,” Effler told the station.
Gregory’s body was found in the bedroom of his burned-out mobile home on Feb. 7, 1993. Authorities ruled his death a homicide after determining he’d died of blunt force trauma.
Effler told Fox News that Deaver claims he killed his son-in-law after because Gregory had abused his wife and their two young children. The woman and children, however, reportedly deny that Gregory abused them.
Authorities said Deaver lived next door to Gregory at the time of the homicide, but later moved.
“It looked like he might be a little guilty because he left the scene … but nobody really knew for sure,” Sonny Kilpatrick, former chief of the Pricetown Volunteer Fire Department, told WNCN-TV.
“He moved away and stayed away for a long time, but nobody really knew for sure,” Kilpatrick said.